Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.-attributed to Nietzsche
Carl Sagan once said something similar:
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.
The radical reality may be that nothing that we think or hold in our mind is true. None of it. Not. A. Word. Not. A. Single. Concept. At least they are not absolutely true.
But that can be too much for the mind to handle, and so it creates all kinds of illusions to believe in, symbols to invest itself in, ideologies to hang its life on, religions that it claims are the absolute truth. But when any of those ideas or symbols or illusions fail, so too goes the mind.
The mind may fail, and this can actually be a good thing. It can lead to a metanoia (a “repentance,” or change of mind), and aporia, states of awe and puzzlement so deep that the mind lets go. The mind surrenders. It falls into the abyss, into the very heart of the Mystery. And only then does Reality open up and reveal itself. It is unveiled.
Wikipedia notes how Plato and Socrates purposefully led their interlocutors to such states of aporia:
Plato’s early dialogues are often called his ‘aporetic’ (Greek: ἀπορητικός) dialogues because they typically end in aporia. In such a dialogue, Socrates questions his interlocutor about the nature or definition of a concept, for example virtue or courage. Socrates then, through elenctic testing, shows his interlocutor that his answer is unsatisfactory. After a number of such failed attempts, the interlocutor admits he is in aporia about the examined concept, concluding that he does not know what it is. In Plato’s Meno (84a-c), Socrates describes the purgative effect of reducing someone to aporia: it shows someone who merely thought he knew something that he does not in fact know it and instills in him a desire to investigate it.-Wikipedia, “Aporia,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aporia#Philosophy
This purgation of the mind thinking it knows the truth makes room for consciousness to see the real Truth, the really Real. It is a cleansing, a purification of the mind. It is redemption.
Only when we enter that cloud of unknowing, stepping into that darkness of mind, can the Light of the Divine actually shine through us. But this seems to be a paradox that the mind refuses to accept until it is experienced.
Have you experienced this free fall into the mind’s unknowing, this mystical experience into experiential “knowing,” this sublime awe in the radical depths of the Divine being? Please share with us in the comments.